Improving health literacy improves BP reductions


  • A health literacy intervention for systolic BP resulted in statistically significant BP reductions in low health literacy patients, changes that were similar to those in high-literacy groups.

Why this matters  

  • Patients with low health literacy tend to have worse outcomes, and as a condition that requires daily awareness and attention, a health literacy intervention in groups with hypertension could be useful.

Key results 

  • Those with low health literacy tended to be older, male, and African American.
  • Change in systolic BP at 12 mo in both the low- and high-literacy groups was significant (P<.00001) and did not differ significantly between the groups, although numerically, the high-literacy group saw a steeper decline.

Study design

  • Nonrandomized, prospective study.
  • Outcomes were checked at 0, 6, 12, 18, and 24 mo.
  • 493 patients were included in the analyses.
  • Used an evidence-based phone-coaching curriculum; phone coaches called each participant 12 times, once/month, 15- to 20-min sessions; helped set goals, review measurement techniques, etc.
  • Funding: None listed.


  • No control group (cohort study).
  • Volunteers were likelier to be a healthier group of people; data on those who did not respond to invitation are not known.


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